Moving Forward

blurry famIn this weird season of sequester and holding patterns – you would think it would be hard to move forward with plans for cross country moves and potential opportunities investigation — and you would be very right.

Time frames and the rattling of doors make things feel very up-in-the-air (well, more than usual.) We too have been watching and waiting for our next assignment. Our hearts are ready and despite the uncertainty in the coming months, we feel comfortable in our vigilant watching and listening for the next right step – which right now look a lot like zoom conversations and emails.

Thankfully, we are able to move forward in one respect – a sending organization! We’ve become partners with Artists for Community Transformation. They are already incredibly supportive of our vision and do so much to help us network and figure out the nuts and bolts of things!

And with them, we are now able to put up our new 🎊 donation page!! 🎊

As we prepare again to GO, we’ll be sure to keep you updated through further blog posts and newsletters! As always, feel free to write to us with any questions or comments! Thank you for loving us and for catching our Vision to serve globally! ❤

 

It’s Been A Minute

Greetings Friends!

Did you miss us? It’s been a while since we last posted on our blog. We took a full year off of ‘specialized’ social media updates while we went through transition. This was a healthy move for us, and we’re so thankful for all of your support and patience.

2019 was a lot of transition and searching for us. We’re still in that transition, but we’re starting to see more and more pieces fall into place. We’re excited to see how the Father has been working and continues to work.

This past year Chris got to take 3 international trips to do short-term work! Courtney and A got to tag along on the most recent one to Singapore! We cannot express how thankful we’ve been to be able to continue to travel and serve abroad!

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This past year Chris has been hitting the books. He started his PhD program in the fall of 2019 and has had the great opportunity to work as a graduate assistant with them. He’s been keeping SUPER busy and we’re so proud of him!

In our last blog post, Courtney was still job-hunting. Since then she’s had two different jobs, the latest of which allows her to work from home. This has made all of our lives a lot saner and we get to have more family time! This was truly an Answer from above!

We’ve been approved as candidates for a new sending group who has a focus on working through the arts. Next month we’ll go to training to (hopefully) become full “members”. We ask for you to lift us up as we talk with different teams we will possibly serve alongside. So far we’re not sure where in the world we’ll be going (but at least we’ve narrowed it down to a few continents😆). Please join us in Asking for a clear Call as we continue our investigations.

This past weekend Courtney had an opportunity to take a basics of healthcare crash course so we can take care of ourselves wherever our Call may lead. From birthing babies to giving injections- she had so much fun and learned so much!

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Our little girl spends about half of her weeks in preschool these days. She is full of love and enjoys saying “hi” to every person she comes across. Truly, she is the one teaching us how to do this relational work!

Here Comes 2019

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us. Many have asked us what our plans are moving forward. We too have been wondering what will be next for us.

_MG_9418 (3)Well, first thing, in less than a week now we’ll have an adorable one-year-old on our hands! We can’t believe how fast this first year of parenthood has gone! It’s been such fun watching her grow and develop this year!

Well, be taking on a new base – Dallas. Chris is gearing up to start a PhD program by doing some pre-reqs in Dallas, which will be the occasion that takes us there. Courtney’s job hunting for a place that will hire her with her new Nurse Aide certification. How long will we be in Dallas? There’s  no clear answer for that. Chris’s program can done distance, so we are still free to follow the Father’s calling to wherever that may be.

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We ask for you to lift us up in the following ways:

-For continued patience during this time of ‘limbo’

-For the transition to Dallas: finding new community, figuring out jobs/childcare

-For calling/vision/wisdom for where we can continue to be a part of Kingdom work

-For Courtney’s job hunt, that just the right fit would find her quickly

Wrapping Things Up

A few weeks ago(when the weather was warmer), we took a trip to Zaisan- a local monument that sits perched on top of a foothill. You reach the top by climbing a concrete stair path — 291 steps to the top. And there at the peak, you can look out and see the whole city. It is a great place for meditation and inspiration.Image may contain: 8 people

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Before we began our climb, I had decided I wanted to do something I’ve never done there before. I wanted to make that climb a climb of thankfulness.

We began our climb, and with each step I took I muttered a “thank you” under my breath and meditated on the goodness we’ve experienced in this place over the past years…

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

I thought about our students, I thought about our friends. About conversations with them and opportunities we had to be a part of the Good Work in their lives.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

I thought about our travels to the countryside, of the amazing people we met there and the beautiful countryside we saw. How we had met people in the mountains and the deserts and the valleys.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

I thought about our language teachers who helped us as we struggled to learn the language, who gave encouragement even when we knew we were talking like toddlers, who shared so much of their life and energy with us.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

I thought of different physicians we’d seen both and times of sickness and times of joy (i.e. pregnancy). Of doctor visits, tests, and treatments. Of seeing the first sonogram of our baby, of the day we found out we were having a girl!

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

I thought about the music projects Chris has gotten to be a part of and how beautiful it was to see him in the midst of his passion and given-purpose. I thought about the kids that I’d gotten to play with, teach, and love.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

As I reached the summit, it amazed me how many things came to mind (many more than I can list here)–amazing opportunities we could have never dreamed up. I looked over this city that we have been blessed to live in these past few years and was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Mongolia has had its challenges, for sure. But we have seen so many amazing things happen here. We have seen the Father moving. We have watched lives change. And we are so thankful for the chance we have had to be apart of that.

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Now, however, we are wrapping things up. We have been asked to leave the field for an extended period of time we’ll discuss at a later time. (Check for a coming newsletter.) We’ll be moving back to the States in the beginning of November.

We are going to miss this part of the world SO much. So much of our hearts are tied to these places and these people. We know, of course, the Good Work will continue, but we will miss being a part of the hands in the field. We have loved it and hope that someday we will have the opportunity to rejoin these workers.

As you know, November is coming quickly, and we don’t have very firm details yet on what we will be doing stateside–a position that is stressful but a somewhat familiar stress for us. We ask that you all lift up our near future in the States, that the Father would show us some new work we can be a part of. And also that you lift up our last month as we pack, say goodbye to friends, and make the journey back across the pond.

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She’ll always be our “Mongolian” baby

As always, feel free to drop us a line or ask us questions by writing to us at troutmanrhythm@gmail.com.

Laying Down Tracks

This past week we got to spend some time in a smaller city. Chris was working with a local brother to do some recording of an album of songs the brother has written. It was such a great chance to get out of the capital city and enjoy some fresh air and fall colors!

davIn a room tucked away, filled with children’s toys and other odds and ends, these two guys worked together from morning til night! Intermittently, other amazing musicians dropped by to offer their gifts. They made some great progress this week!

On Wednesday we were invited to attend a gathering in which the whole band got together and led the people in beautiful songs of praise. They. Were. AWESOME. It is so beautiful to watch them lead others by offering their gifts up as a group! It’s these kinds of experiences I wish we could bottle up and carry with us so that we could share it with others.

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Chris will return in a couple weeks to further work on the recordings. We can’t wait to see how they all turn out!

Savoring Summer

Before I moved to Mongolia, I would have told you that Autumn was my favorite season. However, after living in Mongolia for a few years, I am more sure than ever that summer is my favorite season.

The idealistic vision of Autumn is what made me like it before–warm apple cider, light jacket weather, a scarf that sat just perfectly around my neck, hay rides. But Autumn in reality is cold and windy. Inside you still get the delicious, warm drinks, pretty colors on the trees, and cozy sweaters, but the actual weather of the season is just not something I enjoy, at least no anywhere where I’ve lived.

But summer, oh yes, summer is wonderful. The clothing is short so I can move freely and with more agility. You can enjoy hiking and biking and swimming. Lemonade, Peach Iced Tea, even just Iced Water. And, hello…ICE CREAM!bty

In Mongolia we are currently in “Autumn,” which is much less a season as it is an indecisive sky constantly fluctuating between summer and winter. Even just today we spent the afternoon in short sleeve T-shirts and by 9:30pm white, fluffy stuff was falling from the sky!

I think the colder days this year will be a little harder with baby. I wonder how much we’ll get out of the house and how much I’ll want to risk putting any of us at risk for getting sick. At least there are plenty of warm clothing options to dress her up in!

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So cute>>>

But right now I want to be mindful and thankful for the warmer days. I’m taking every single minute I can to savor the last few days of summer. If the day is warm and full of sunshine, you can bet that we’re out at the park sipping our Coke Zeros and soaking up that vitamin D!dav

Showing Up

This past weekend we saw a flyer come through our facebook scrolling. It was titled “Music Festival” and we saw that it was taking place at the university we’ve previously taught at here in Mongolia. With no other information but lots of intrigue, we decided to drop by and see what was happening. After all, how could we pass up a music festival?

Well, it wasn’t exactly what we thought it was. Turns out it was a conference to learn about different cultures music. Awesome, right? Also, it was for children…. oh… um, great?

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Nonetheless, because we showed up, we got to chat with loads of friends that we hadn’t yet seen. And despite our age, Chris was invited to join one of the sessions– the one about Mongolian traditional music, of course!

In the evening we enjoyed concert of a mixture of musical styles — opera, traditional korean singing, morin khuur(that cello-ish instrument some of you saw Chris playing), khoomii (throat singing), and even a ukulele choir. (extra videos down below)

This musician was amazing! Such swift hands and yet he looks so relaxed!

How fun! Something we got to see/be a part of all because we “showed up.” This whole idea of “let’s show up and see what happens” is something we do fairly frequently. Of course, sometimes we show up to nothing; that does happen. But other times we get to see something we could have never imagined.

I’ve always found the work that we do to be a lot like this. We can dream and prepare as much as we like, but ultimately, when we show up in a new country we don’t really know what we’ll find. But it is important to show up and to be open and welcoming to whatever He has for us.

It’s always greater than we could’ve imagined.

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She is captivated!

MORE HORSEHEAD FIDDLE AND KHOOMII –>>https://youtu.be/R9ISCcY6pQI

UKULELE CHOIR PLAYS AMAZING GRACE –>>https://youtu.be/Je-9pxodeR8

 

Adventures in Kenya

On our way to Mongolia this time, we stopped over in Kenya for a week. (You know, because it is TOTALLY not out of the way 😉 ) This was my first time to the continent of Africa! It was so fun!

As a lot of you know Chris grew up in Africa. One of those years was spent at a boarding high school in Kenya. While we were there we did have a chance to tour the campus. I got to see where Chris and his classmates played squash, went to movie night, ate lunch, and threw a goat bladder around. It was really fun to see the setting of so many stories he has told me about the place.

We also got a chance to do a little hiking, seeing the waterfalls in Kijabe and climbing up Mt. Longonot, which has a huge crater at it’s peak filled with a forest. We got to see all those animals that I’ve only seen in zoos out in the wild. I laughed at my tireless encouragement for our daughter to look at the giraffe or zebra or water buffalo even though I knew that she wouldn’t be able to remember the experience.

The landscape was beautiful and green! The people were so friendly and loved seeing our little girl.

Now, I know this sounds like we were just there to play, but I promise we did work most of the week!

Our main reason for stopping through Kenya was to attend an arts conference with like-minded people who do the kind of work we (are attempting to) do in all sorts of cultures and artistic expressions. We met painters and dancers and singers and musicians. We watched a young Portuguese rapper and a Brit dance psalms in an Indian movement form. It was a beautiful, encouraging, educational, and inspiring time. And let me tell you, these people are so much fun to be with when learning new songs/dances/etc. Everyone is so terribly interested that there no need to be self-conscious. (Which is one of the reasons I so enjoy working with kiddos.)

I’m so glad we made it to there! We were so thankful to be a part of things and network with so many interesting people!

Unpacked…finally

We left the States on August 1st. It is currently August 19th and we are finally unpacked. I am super happy to not be living out of a suitcase for a while.

We are will be spending out time in Mongolia in an apartment. Which means as soon as we landed we had to pack the house and go apartment shopping. Thankfully we have amazing friends to help us. Two gentlemen who called and called and CALLED landlords checking out possibilities. A local who hired a moving truck and movers for us. And a friend who provided and extra pair of hands in the transition (needed for holding Addie) and then, once we arrived, proceeded to wash every single dish we own. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy friends like these. We are so thankful for them.

 

Now to settle in and learn what is around our new location! Thankfully it’s pretty close to where our last apartment in the city was!

 

And in the meantime, baby girl turned 6 months old! That’s half a year! Woah!

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Back in Mongolia

We touched down yesterday afternoon! Friends met us at the airport, which made our hearts so full! We’ve come home to a house with no electricity and a few things that have broken since we left so we need to figure out how to fix these issues. In addition, we’re going apartment shopping– we decided that a house with no running water or heating unit may prove too much for us with our baby girl in tow. And we’re thankful that we have the resources to do so. We did manage to get SIM cards for our cellphones yesterday though, so — you know– progress.

So, this is just a quick update on where we are at this point.

As for how we are feeling, we are exhausted but working hard to get things done. Nobody told us how fun infant jet lag is… 😂😂😂